Confession: Sometimes I plot a Facebook or Instagram post about a moment before that moment ever happens.
I know I'm not alone in this. You might be nodding your head, agreeing that you're guilty of this social media crime, too. Or you know of some show-offy mom whose life is nowhere near as picture-perfect-filtered as the pictures you see in your feed. (It's like she wakes up with make-up! And her kids wake up singing!)
My husband had been traveling for two weeks. He arrived home in the middle of the night, early on the morning of Valentine's Day. My three kids and I had thought it'd be fun to make homemade pasta as a family for Valentine's Day dinner. The four of us had made it about a month before and had a great time getting messy and slurping up every single noodle we made with our own hands.
Perhaps I should give you a head's up that my husband prefers to become one with the sofa during dinner prep and that chaos is not welcome in his aura and that my older son's nascent table manners are one of his biggest pet peeves in his life?
Still, I trudged onward with my plan. I thought I'll take a picture of all of us, making pasta and laughing together, and post "Food is love. And here are the people I love, making food together. My kitchen is full of love, and I'm so grateful." Or something hokey like that.
Great news! I got the picture!
Don't they look so happy to collaborate on this pasta? Can't you see the love?
Well, if you look closely at this picture, you can see where it all fell apart. My youngest son in the blue shirt, the one most obsessed with fairness within our family, is putting his palm where he thinks my husband's pasta should end. That line is clearly less than the length of my younger son's pasta. His big brother Ben's pasta is already longer than his, and his mood is fragile because we've waited too long for this perfect project and he's hungry and he's the third kid and fairly used to getting what he wants. Also, he's four.
Turns out, my husband's pasta was really, really long.
And that threw Kiefer into a pit of despair. He started crying and screaming and sobbing about how he wanted the longest pasta in the world. My husband and I had, I admit, not had the best day as a couple, so our nerves were already frayed. Our reservoir of patience for each other and for our kids was not teeming over. We took turns snapping at him and each other while also trying to console our son and joke him back to his normal jolly self.
By the time we sat down, my ever-enthusiastic daughter was really the only one holding us together. My older son's difficulty eating spaghetti neatly (what seven year old American boy can eat spaghetti neatly?!) inspired every-minute-on-the-minute reminders from my husband to "Chew with your mouth closed, BEN" or "Keep your lips together, BEN" or "BEN, what do you think I'm going to say to you?" or "BEN!"
The good news? The pesto I got for the occasion was really yummy and I tried to focus on that.
Okay, there's more than that. This Valentine's Day went by without any Facebook or Instagram post. And you know what? Who cares? Imperfect as we are, my husband and I are together and our family is eating and laughing and crying and working on manners together.
Happy Valentine's Day, all.